PESHAWAR: The shortage of resources and basic equipment has been hindering the performance of Peshawar’s anti-car lifting cell (ACLC) as it has recovered only 80 of the 180 stolen vehicles in the previous year.

According to officials, the cell requires immediate attention of the provincial government. They said that the success ratio of the cell would only surge once it was equipped with latest technology.

They said that car lifters drove the stolen vehicles to different areas. More than 50 per cent of the stolen vehicles landed in Malakand, 15 per cent in Darra Adamkhel area of Kohat district and the rest were shifted to Landi Kotal area of Khyber tribal district, they added.

“It is easier for snatchers to deal in stolen vehicles in these areas. These vehicles can be easily sold or purchased and sometimes dismantled and sold in parts in these areas,” said officials. They added that ACLC could not play its due role in absence of modern technology.

ACLC officials cite shortage of resources as main cause of low recovery rate

“You expect 100 per cent success from us but cannot give us a locator, which we at times borrow from the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) that too in high profile case or in cases related to militancy,” a senior ACLC official told Dawn.

He thanked companies for installing trackers in vehicles, which helped them to locate the stolen vehicles otherwise the success ratio would have been lower than 10 per cent.

ACLC officials said that in most of the cases, the trackers too were just thrown away by the car lifters, making it more difficult for the cell to pursue cases. “Not just from Peshawar but ACLC receives complaints of stolen vehicles from other parts of the country as well,” they added.

ACLC Peshawar head Shehryar Ahmad, when contacted, confirmed that success ratio of the cell was 44 per cent in the year 2022. He added that trackers helped them but modern equipment would further increase the recovery capacity of the cell.

“We recently located and recovered a vehicle within three hours when it was snatched from Rawalpindi and driven all the way to Peshawar,” he said.

Mr Ahmad said that the cell followed three different methods to recover vehicles lifted or snatched including following the trackers and monitoring closed-circuit cameras installed on the routes besides communication between snatchers and owners of vehicles as snatchers mostly asked for money in exchange for vehicles.

“When we see there is no hope, we activate our informers within the gangs. Car lifters run Whatsapp groups for information sharing about the cars and our men, members of the same groups, ask for demand and location of the vehicle to check the vehicle’ condition,” he said.

Adviser to Chief Minister for Home Babar Saleem Swati, when contacted, said that steps were being taken to enhance ACLC’s capacity. “We recently held a meeting in this regard. We plan to modernise ACLC by equipping it with latest technology,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2023

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